Ski country businesses anxiously awaiting snow

Posted at 7:18 PM, Dec 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-31 07:00:09-05

While some western New Yorkers may be rejoicing over the lack of snow and mild temperatures. However, no snow means a lack of business for places that need the flakes to fly in order to stay afloat.

"Warm. Very warm," is how Peter Calleri, the marketing director at Kissing Bridge describes this last winter. The record setting warm December is especially hard in ski country.

"Some weekends we tried and we laid some snow down," Calleri said. "And then it turned 60 afterwards and it melted away."

Kissing Bridge has not been able to open for a single day in the 2015-2016 ski season.

However, a cold forecast in the upcoming week has workers there optimistic. Calleri says the slopes should finally open January 6th. That's the latest Kissing Bridge has opened in its history, dating back to the 1970s.

"If we get through feet of snow, natural or man-made, we'll be able to open," Calleri explained. They hope to start making snow over the weekend.

"Ideally you want cold temperatures to freeze the ground. Then you want that wet heavy snow on top of that. A couple -- three feet is optimal."

Calleri explained that heavy snow is much better than soft snow, which condenses significantly.

The recent lack of snow is not just hard for the slopes, but also nearby businesses. Michael Rowen, who owns The Pizza Glen near Kissing Bridge, says "business is not good at all."

Even when skiers start coming, the busiest time for his restaurant will have passed.

"When the kids are off for Christmas and New Year's those two weeks, I get a tremendous amount of business," Rowen explained. "And this year, it doesn't seem like it's going to happen."

Ski and snowboard rental shops are also seeing a delay in business.

"People are waiting for snow to come in, cause honestly without snow, they can't ski," said Kim Zehmder, who co-owns Glenwood Depot. Zehmder said while the loyal customer base is still coming, she has heard from other frequent customers explaining that they want to wait for colder weather.

The lack of snow is also creating an extra challenge for Sarah Amo, who just opened up The Water's Edge Day Spa in Colden. Amo was banking on ski season and planned to offer spa packages for those hitting the slopes.

"There's no skiers, they don't come in, so we don't get the people," Amo explained. "It's tough I mean people don't just come from the local community they come from out of town to come ski here."

However, some restaurants say the warm weather has provided a perk this winter.

"(Customers) don't want to really get out on the roads when it's bad and stormy out," explained Chuck Morlock with the Colden Mill Restaurant.

"People have definitely been able to get out in this beautiful weather we've been having cause there's no snow," added Cherri Evenden, a waitress at the Colden Kitchen.

However, most are anxiously waiting for a real western New York winter to begin.

Kissing Bridge is even planning a Welcome Back Winter Party for January 11th to celebrate the cold weather and beginning of ski/snowboarding season.

While Kissing Bridge will still have a New Year's dinner, the traditional fireworks will be moved to the party.




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